Plasma P-tau18 level increased with progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and differentiated AD dementia from other neurodegenerative diseases, supporting its further development as a blood-based biomarker for AD.
Plasma pTau181 concentrations are elevated specifically in patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease compared to those diagnosed with frontotemporal lobar degeneration or elderly controls, supporting its further development as a blood-based biomarker for AD.
Background There is still a substantial unmet need for less invasive and lower-cost blood-based biomarkers to detect brain Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. This study is aimed to determine whether quantification of plasma tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (p-tau181) is informative in the diagnosis of AD. Methods We have developed a novel ultrasensitive immunoassay to quantify plasma p-tau181, and measured the levels of plasma p-tau181 in three cohorts. Results In the first cohort composed of 20 AD patients and 15 age-matched controls, the plasma levels of p-tau181 were significantly higher in the AD patients than those in the controls (0.171 ± 0.166 pg/ml in AD versus 0.0405 ± 0.0756 pg/ml in controls, p = 0.0039). The percentage of the subjects whose levels of plasma p-tau181 exceeded the cut-off value (0.0921 pg/ml) was significantly higher in the AD group compared with the control group (60% in AD versus 16.7% in controls, p = 0.0090). In the second cohort composed of 20 patients with Down syndrome (DS) and 22 age-matched controls, the plasma concentrations of p-tau181 were significantly higher in the DS group (0.767 ± 1.26 pg/ml in DS versus 0.0415 ± 0.0710 pg/ml in controls, p = 0.0313). There was a significant correlation between the plasma levels of p-tau181 and age in the DS group (R2 = 0.4451, p = 0.0013). All of the DS individuals showing an extremely high concentration of plasma p-tau181 (> 1.0 pg/ml) were older than the age of 40. In the third cohort composed of 8 AD patients and 3 patients with other neurological diseases, the levels of plasma p-tau181 significantly correlated with those of CSF p-tau181 (R2 = 0.4525, p = 0.023). Conclusions We report for the first time quantitative data on the plasma levels of p-tau181 in controls and patients with AD and DS, and these data suggest that the plasma p-tau181 is a promising blood biomarker for brain AD pathology. This exploratory pilot study warrants further large-scale and well-controlled studies to validate the usefulness of plasma p-tau181 as an urgently needed surrogate marker for the diagnosis and disease progression of AD.
Janelidze, S., Mattsson, N., Palmqvist, S. et al. Plasma P-tau181 in Alzheimer’s disease: relationship to other biomarkers, differential diagnosis, neuropathology and longitudinal progression to Alzheimer’s dementia. Nat Med 26, 379–386 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0755-1
Thijssen, E.H., La Joie, R., Wolf, A. et al. Diagnostic value of plasma phosphorylated tau181 in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Nat Med 26, 387–397 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0762-2
Tatebe, H., Kasai, T., Ohmichi, T. et al. Quantification of plasma phosphorylated tau to use as a biomarker for brain Alzheimer pathology: pilot case-control studies including patients with Alzheimer’s disease and down syndrome. Mol Neurodegeneration 12, 63 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13024-017-0206-8